Note: This Post Has Been Largely Updated by To Vote or Not to Vote? An Election Links Roundup
Since I seem to be kinda political this week, let me mention one other story that got my attention recently: Frank Schaeffer, scion of intellectual fundamentalist demigod Francis Schaeffer, has come out in support of Barak Obama…on pro-life grounds. Here are a few salient excerpts from his Huffington Post Column:
“I am an Obama supporter. I am also pro-life. In fact, without my family’s involvement in the pro-life movement it would not exist as we know it. Evangelicals weren’t politicized until after my late father and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, Dr. Koop (Reagan’s soon-to-be Surgeon General) and I stirred them up over the issue of abortion in the mid-1970s. Our Whatever Happened to the Human Race? book, movie series and seminars brought the evangelicals into the pro-life movement.
“In 2000, we elected a president who claimed he believed God created the earth and who, as president, put car manufacturers and oil company’s interests ahead of caring for that creation. We elected a pro-life Republican Congress that did nothing to actually care for pregnant women and babies. And they took their sincere evangelical followers for granted, and played them for suckers…the “pro-life” ethic of George W. Bush manifested itself in a series of squandered opportunities to call us to our better natures. After 9/11, Bush told most Americans to go shopping while saddling the few who volunteered for military service with endless tours of duty (something I know a little about since my son was a Marine and deployed several times). The Bush doctrine of life was expressed by starting an unnecessary war in Iraq that has killed thousands of Americans and wounded tens of thousands more.
“Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that actually nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. A leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone is someone who is actually pro-life.”
Read the entire, quite stunning, column here.
This in many ways mirrors my own life’s journey. I was raised staunchly pro-life, to believe that ‘abortion stops a beating heart.’ And you know what? While I see far more nuance in the abortion question than I did as a homeschooled kid (thanks to voices like my friend Hal Miller), I still believe this.
But you know what else? Lots of other things stop beating hearts too. Like climate change, war, poverty, and the arms trade. Disregard for human life goes deep and runs rampant; we need holistic solutions that address the whole of humanity. Some of us have begun to argue for a robust approach to “life advocacy” which we call being consistently pro-life–inculcating and celebrating life in all her many forms, from conception to the grave.
How do we do this? No matter who we vote for (or if we choose to vote at all), I think we need to approach this as Schaeffer encourages us: “The real solution to abortion is to change the heart of America, not the law. We need to stop seeing ourselves as consumers. We need to stop seeing ourselves as me and begin to think of we.”